Motivated Teacher Brings Aviation to Louisiana School

By Clyde Oyler, EAA 1294011

As a teacher at the St. Helena College and Career Academy in Greensburg, Louisiana, this school year, I was able to implement an Aviation and Aerospace Education Society club for students in grades seven through 12.

The primary reason for forming this organization is to allow students the opportunity to discover the wonders of aviation and the various career paths one might consider within the scope of the aerospace industry. Our school is also currently working toward adding an aerospace curriculum for the next academic school year.

When I became a teacher nearly 15 years ago, I always thought it would be great if I could somehow combine my two greatest passions in life — working with young people and aviation. This year it became a reality when our principal, Brandon Fontenot, gave the club and program his blessing and support.

We begin construction on our campus hangar on the first of November. As soon as the new facility is complete, we can start learning and, more importantly, start building an aircraft. I have been very blessed to have acquired my own aircraft in kit form. I have also acquired a set of plans for another. The kit I own is an original Pulsar manufactured by Aero Designs. The set of plans I have acquired are for the Affordaplane aircraft.

I want our students to learn how to do the things it takes to build an aircraft because I feel that it will teach them skills that they can take with them once they graduate whether they go to college or not. Aviation covers all core subjects taught in school, and I really want our students to understand how the things we teach them on a daily basis transfer over to real-life applications.

I am currently preparing to earn my private pilot certificate. I should have done it sooner, but life throws you a lot of curveballs and I am just now getting the time to pursue my ultimate dream. My next goal is to earn my CFI rating in order to teach others how to fly. I really want to provide this option to my students with as much reduction in cost as possible.

Additionally, I would like to start an EAA chapter at my home airport located in Franklinton, Louisiana, which is approximately a 40-minute drive from the school where I teach.

We have a very nice airport that is geographically located around some of the busiest air traffic in the United States. Our airport manager, Marty Roberts, and I have decided to take our airport to the next level by attracting individuals from all ages to become members and take an active role in our airport operations and activities. We are planning on hosting fly-ins, air shows, Young Eagles flights, and any other activities we can think of to help foster aviation at our home base of operations.  

EAA has been one of our greatest supporters, and I am truly humbled by all of the kindness, dedication, and support that they have provided. I constantly tell my students that if they want to do something truly great in life, they have to be willing to do something they have never done before.

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